It started with a L’Shanah Tovah greeting from a friend. “The Year of Gratitude” was the heading of her email. It resonated. One way to deal with the inevitable heartaches and troubles of any life, my life anyway, is to be grateful for what is right, what is beautiful, what is comforting and sweet.
As the Jewish year of 5774 starts, I’m embracing gratitude: for the station function on Rdio which delivers an interesting mix of music familiar and new while I move around the house, processing garden bounty, cooking, kneading challah; for the flock of black birds moving through my corner of the physical landscape, flying in a twirling cloud across the yard and into a tall white pine and back into the grass of the pasture across the street, their wings beating in late afternoon sunlight like a thousand lit pages; for my health and the health of most of those I love, especially the almost miraculous continued presence, if not full health, of a beloved sister; for the reappearance of calendula in my garden, which only happened because a dear friend lost a life partner and she loved, the one who died of cancer, these flowers and we were all given packets of seeds at her memorial service in October, and now they’re blooming in my garden again, to my great delight. I picked a bouquet today when I got home from services and put it on my new table on the porch. Bright, hardy and simple, my kind of flower.
So gratitude will be my way of approaching another year, after a year in which all the complications of life and love and what needs to be done resulted in me to going to Rosh Hashanah services alone, for the first time, ever. I cried through much of the service, but that’s okay. Any truthful contemplation of forgiveness and repentance, of what has been and what might be, deserves some tears. It’s a New Year. 5774.